I have sucking insects that look like glassy winded sharpshooters all over my lily of the nile, crape myrtles, and sunflowers. How do I get rid of them! They are out in force. Should I just leave them, or are they really bad? It just looks like they're sucking everything. I didn't see them the last two years, but all the sudden they've found me. Do any benefical insects, like praying mantis eat them?
I noticed them for the first this year. They seem to be after my Brugmansias and plumerias, but they are probably everywhere. Prior to this year, I had been more concerned with sharpshooter's connection to Pierce's Disease of grapevines. I have seen Cardinals eating a few, but you'd need hundreds of Cardinals to do the job. I used a systemic on non-food plants a few days ago, but it's too soon to see if it works against the sharpshooters.
This is what I have found about sharpshooters. Generally, they don't do a large amount of damage. The greatest is mostly cosmetic in that sharpshooters excrete heavy amounts of liquid that turns white when it dries. If the liquid dries on vehicles it spots them. They can spread the bacterium that causes Pierce's Disease, a fatal grapevine disease. They can also spread almond leaf scorch, oleander leaf scorch, plum leaf scald, something called phony peach disease and variegated citrus chlorosis.
In California, a tiny parasitic wasp is being used to help combat sharpshooters. You might ask your local extension county agent if the wasp is being used here in Texas. He might be able to tell you where to get them.
Chemical controls are usually not recommended, but insecticidal soaps and oils can be used. These are the least damaging. They have to be applied every 7 days because they only work on the nymps. There are severl other chemicals that can be used, but it's best to ask your extension agent what is most effective in your area.